"No tengas miedo, Rafa"
translated for vamosbrigade.com by nou.amic

This article by Jose M. Gutiérrez Morón is from puntodebreak.com on February 2nd 2016. The following translation was done by nou.amic for vamosbrigade.com.

"Don't be afraid, Rafa"

This letter is addressed to Rafael Nadal. You, whom we haven't seen bite an important trophy for some time, the kind you used to bite almost every week. You, who were practically the only one who could face up to a colossal Novak Djokovic. You, who it's becoming customary not to see in the final rounds of major tournaments. You, whose mental strength on a tennis court is missed. You, who are now going through a difficult time, You, who they say has gone, that you're no longer here.

They told you you were just a claycourt player, but the years went by and you began to win on other surfaces and you shut as many mouths as you won victories on court. You sought a place for yourself in history on the basis of wins and titles and fought for years to maintain yourself at the very top. You suffered injuries and even when in pain you were able to fight and stay alive in every tournament. Your mind made the difference. But when bad times came, you discovered there are also injuries that don't cause physical pain and these are the hardest to recover from.

Your mind tends to remember the bad, the negative. Your head drums the same thing into you again and again. But, remind it of your greatness, your immensity, your passion, your strength. Remind it who you are and why your name is among the best in history. Remind it of your evenings of glory. Remind it of your epic comebacks, even on those surfaces where the others were superior to you. Remind it you've won on all the surfaces on which this sport is played. Remind it why tennis academies study how you hit your forehand in order to show children how to do it. Remind it you're young and you still have many years to continue winning titles. If you were able to do it, you can now.

You were far superior to the rest on clay. They said you were unbeatable on this surface, that your game is perfectly suited to clay. They said you could keep winning Roland Garros even when you were 40 years old. But with time this was increasingly changing, your rivals got closer to you and even managed to win occasionally. You started to focus more on tournaments on other surfaces and maybe that caused them to begin to get closer to you on clay. It's time to come back. It's time to rearm and return to being strong on your surface, the surface they say is yours alone. They say it's a bad idea to go to Buenos Aires. I think you've made a good decision. I think getting back to being great on clay again will mean you'll face matches against the top players on other surfaces in a different way.

There's a saying that goes: "He who leaves never comes back, even though he returns". And I would say to you if you don't know where to go, go back in order to know where you come from. Your weakness gave them strength, it's time to rid yourself of it again and to show everyone that you were always there. Don't be afraid, Rafa. Raise your fist, clench your teeth and recover what was yours. Paris is waiting for you.